'BJP-led NDA lone alternative before people'

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Bhopal, Sep 21: Accusing the ruling Congress led UPA of displaying 'lack of understanding of coalition dharma', the BJP today asserted that the party-led NDA coalition was the 'lone alternative' available before the people of the country. Addressing the opening session of the three day National Executive here, BJP President Rajnath Singh said display of lack of understanding of the coalition dharma by the UPA and its allies, especially for the last three months, had cast doubts about the coalition's majority in the Parliament especially after Congress Left parties open fight on the Indo-US nuclear deal.

''Now the DMK in Tamil Nadu had taken a blasphemous stand on the Ramsethu, which was not in tune with the stand of the UPA government at the Centre. The mid-term elections are round the corner and the BJP workers should work with full strength to bring back the BJP led NDA back to power'', Mr Singh exhorted party Spokesman Ravishankar Prasad told mediapersons after the opening session.

Senior BJP leader and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee could not attend meeting for health reasons but sent in his message expressing hope that he will be in a position to join the partymen in the near future, Mr Prasad said.

To a question on if the BJP had discussed who would lead the party in the Lok Sabha elections, Mr Prasad said both Mr Vajpayee and Mr Advani were ''tall and revered leaders'' and there was no confusion in the party on the leadership issue. The party would keep the media informed about the developments, he added. However, Mr Prasad evaded an answer to a question about the possibility of the emergence of a third leader other than Mr Vajpayee and Mr Advani.

There was much speculation about Mr Advani taking over the leadership, but at the same time, his opponents had given enough indications of opposing the move.

Firstly, they scuttled any move by Mr Advani's camp to take over the leadership on the Ram Sethu issue, when the RSS declared that the BJP would lend 'active support' to Ram Sethu Raksha Manch, headed by former Asian Development Bank expert Dr Kalyana Raman. The party is also likely to make senior leader Murli Manohar Joshi its pointman on the Ram Sethu issue.

Dr Joshi, a known Advani opponent within the party, is expected to move a resolution on the Ram Sethu issue in the Executive later today or tomorrow.

Adding to the party's discomfort is the absence of senior party leaders including former Gujarat Chief Ministers Keshubhai Patel, Suresh Mehta and former Union Minister Kanshiram Rana, from the Executve's opening session, which, among other things, is scheduled to discuss the political scenario in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh where elections are due in the next six months.

Asserting that party's 'core ideology' was cultural nationalism, the BJP President said India's biggest hope for the future was in increasing its economic prosperity and intellectual captal. India's biggest future challenge is to tackle the poverty associated with agriculture and villages and degradation of societal values. He said of the 60 years after Independence, Congress was virtually in power for 54 years, excepting when the NDA government was in power. ''The picture of 60 years versus six years is enough to tell the comparison between the capacity and capability of the BJP and other parties,'' he asserted.

The UPA government, which came to power on the 'Aaam Admi', had failed totally to check high interest rates, price hike, inflation and taxation rates, Mr Singh noted, adding that terrorist instances were on the rise because of the government's ''soft attitude''.

''The internal and external security situation in the country was extremely disturbing as the government of the day was showing signs of politicalisation of national security and strategic interests at the alter of blatant vote bank politics,'' he said.

''From outside Al Qaeda was bracketing India with United States and there was 'imploding situation' in Pakistan. With the government soft pedaling against terrorism, senior level officials of the defence forces were talking against the political interferance in Jammu and Kashmir, be it withdrawal of troops in the valley or ceasfire during the Ramazan. The Government needs to deploy 'ten fold increase' in the size of the Army to deal with the situation,'' the BJP chief added.

Mr Rajnath Singh said the UPA was now proclaiming that the withdrawal of Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) as one of its achievements and still claiming to fight terrorism at a time when Al Quaeda and other terrorist organisations were targetting India. ''The unequal battle between the terrorist forces and the security forces had reduced the morale of the people. If the BJP gets another opportunity to form the government at the Centre, we will reverse this policy and firmly deal against terrorism with an effective anti-terrorism law,'' he asserted.

On the Justice Rajinder Sachar Committee report the BJP President charged the UPA government with embarking upon a ''dangerous path of sowing the seeds of communal divide that can seriously impact on the social fabric of the country, threatening its unity and integrity.''Steps such as a Muslim head count in the defences forces and Prime Minister talking of 'first right' to Muslims over the country's resources will only sow deep, the seeds of communal discord, he noted.

Touching upon the farmers' plight and the wheat import scam, he said the BJP was contemplating a 'widespread programme' against injustice meted out to the farmers. The Executive should think about this and come out with its suggestions, he urged.

He said the import policy of the government was not ''directionless but insensitive'' to the concerns of the farmers.

After rejecting the supply of wheat at 263 dollars a tonne on the ground the prices were too high, the same government only had approved import wheat at 325 dollars a tonne and an addtional 800,000 tonnes at 390 dollars a tonne. The BJP demands that the Minimum Support Price to the domestic farmers immediately.

UNI

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